The city of Davao prepares for the week-long Kadayawan Festival
Every August, Filipinos gather in Davao to celebrate thanksgiving at the Kadayawan Festival. The festival was once a ritual performed by tribes to thank the gods for a bountiful harvest, but it has been adapted to include other cultural celebrations. The festival is still a time to give thanks for the harvest, but it now also encompasses the diverse culture and rich history of the city of Davao.
The term ‘kadayawan’ comes from the Mandaya word ‘madayaw,’ which is a friendly greeting that means good, valuable, beautiful or superior. The festival was given its current name in 1988 by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, but it had been known as Apo Duwaling until then. The former name was a culmination of Mount Apo (the tallest mountain in the Philippines), Durian the king of fruits and Waling-waling, the queen of orchids.
Kadayawan is a chance for the people of Davao to celebrate their community. Davao has one of the lowest crime rates in the world and the Davao City Police Office is always the front-runner for the best force in the Philippines. The city has some of the best tap water in the world, and has never been hit by a typhoon, according to the festival’s official website.
On August 15, the festival will kick off with the opening ceremonies in the People’s Park. The father tribes of the city will perform music and dances to honor their cultures as well as this year’s harvest. Once the festival begins, Roxas Avenue will be closed to traffic and open to the public from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., and there will be plenty of local and national bands on the scene to give the crowds something to dance to as they celebrate in the streets.
The Lumadnong Gama: Indigenous Peoples Crops and Crafts Trade Fair will be held throughout the week-long event. The many different tribes of Davao will be selling souvenirs, crafts and other goods. Many families are counting on their relatives to send money online so they can take part in the festivities and be able to buy something to remember the Kadayawan Festival. There are also cultural demonstrations, street-dancing competitions, exhibits of Filipino traditions and floats made from the native flowers of the area.